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AIR COMMUNICATIONS IMPROVES CIRCUIT-SWITCHED TRANSMISSIONS

Air Communications Inc. hopes to pump new life into that old work horse-circuit-switched cellular data transmission-with a wireless protocol named AirTrue.

The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company said AirTrue takes a systems-level approach to circuit cellular data transmission to prevent connection and transmission disruptions. Disconnect problems have caused a drag on customer acceptance of cellular data because data transmissions are far more sensitive to disruption than voice telephony.

The two-year-old company plans to target mobile computer users, having recently launched the AirTrue technology as one that integrates radio frequency and modem technologies into a “handheld cellular data fax phone.” AirTrue, which transmits over the analog network, will be a valid choice for wireless users for years, Air Communications contends, because even after digital cellular telephony is in place, the analog network will still be in use.

As part of its modem protocol, AirTrue reportedly addresses transceiver noise and distortion, as well as reads and interprets common cellular events such as cell hops, power shifts and system messages.

“AirTrue is calibrated and designed for cellular. It is an extension of the cellular network,” according to Kevin Surace, vice president of sales and co-founder of Air Communications. “Speed and throughput are the most important things to users. They take connectivity and interoperability for granted, but you can’t take them for granted in the wireless world,” Surace said.

Surace noted there are three or four disruptive events per minute in a stationary cellular transmission and the carrier often will get the blame for a disconnect even when the modem or protocol may be at fault.

“What’s revolutionary with AirTrue is its ability to see cellular events coming and prepare for them. The customer gets 94 percent first try connectivity with AirTrue, a rate which approaches that of landline transmission,” he said. “It works well for data and exceptionally well for (fax transmission).”

AirTrue also offers the advantage of being a cellular-side-only protocol, which allows interoperability with host modems using the industry standard V.42 error correction and data compression protocols, the company said. By comparison, the more common 2-sided protocols require that both the remote modem and the host modem use the same proprietary protocol for compatibility.

Some cellular carriers have introduced “modem pools” that can service a range of user protocols, but Surace said they are not popular with users because applications don’t work well with the modem pool’s inherent connection delay and fax transmissions won’t work at all. Only about 40 markets offer modem pools, he said.

“A single-sided, integrated network technology gives high satisfaction for real user needs. For the carrier it means lower cost implementation, faster market penetration and lower maintenance costs compared to other data options,” Surace said.

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